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February 3, 1871.

} On motion of Mr. BONNEY of Portland,

Ordered, That the Clerk be and hereby is directed to publish the Journal of the House for distribution. Read and passed.


A true copy





266892 MARCH 1930






WEDNESDAY, January 4, 1871. Pursuant to the Constitution and Laws of the State, the members of the House of Representatives elect, convened in the Representatives' Hall, and were called to order by the Clerk of the House for the year 1870.

Prayer by the Rev. Mr. MARTIN of Augusta.

The certified roll of Representatives elect, furnished by the Secretary of State in compliance with the provisions of chapter 67 of the public laws of 1869, entitled "an act to regulate the organization of the Legislature,” was called by the Clerk, and 141 members elect responded to the call and a quorum found to be present.

On motion of Mr. COUSENS of Kennebunkport, that gentleman was charged with a message to the governor, informing him that a quorum of the members elect of the House of Representatives had assembled in the Representatives' Hall, and requesting his attendance to administer to them the oaths required by the Constitution to qualify them to enter upon the discharge of their official duties.

Mr. Cousens subsequently reported that he had discharged the duty assigned him, and the Governor was pleased to say, that he. would forthwith attend the Convention for the purpose desired.

Whereupon, the Governor attended by the Executive Council, came in, and administered to the members elect, and they subscribed, the oaths required by the Constitution to qualify them to enter upon the discharge of their official duties.

The Governor and Council then retired.

On motion of Mr. ROBIE of Gorham,
Messrs. Robie of Gorham, Woodbury of Houlton, Thompson of

Dover, Jones of Norway, Cleaves of Portland, Reynolds of Lewiston, and Bartlett of Harmony, were appointed a Committee to receive, sort and count the votes for Speaker of the House.

Having attended to that duty, Mr. ROBIE, from the Committee, reported : Whole number of votes...

137 Necessary to a choice...

69 Edwin B. Smith has..

109 Edmund Wilson....

26 Frederick Robie....

1 Cornelius Wilson....

1 The report was read and accepted, and Hon. Edwin B. Smith declared duly elected Speaker of the House of Representatives for the current political year.


The SPEAKER was conducted to the Chair by Mr. WILSON of Thomaston, and addressed the House as follows:

Gentlemen of the House of Representatives :—With unaffected diffidence I assume the duties of the position to which your partiality has called me. That they may be discharged with any degree of satisfaction to you or me, or of any advantage to the State, is only possible through the aid and counsel of the older and more experienced legislators before me, (especially those who have preceded me here,) and the courtesy and forbearance of every member.

Having carefully considered the composition of the House, I feel that I can confidently rely upon this needed assistance and kindness.

To this desk I can only bring an earnest desire faithfully to perform the duties it exacts; for heretofore my studies and labors in the law have been mainly devoted to the narrower field of applying it to individual cases, rather than adapting its general principles to legislation affecting the whole commonwealth and all its citizens. My practice has been in those Courts in which are tried causes between party and party, and not in this highest General Court” which presides over the destinies of all.

One of the early masters of the subject, declares that the Parliamentary Law—the source of all human laws—ought to be sought and attained by all, but that it is ignored by most and known to few. Among the few who know it I have no claim to be counted ; but in the pursuit of its knowledge I shall be a willing if not an apt scholar; ready to receive and grateful for instruction, from any quarter whence it can be obtained.

The fundamental principle underlying all our legislation, as I believe, was announced by that practical statesman who knew so well how to condense the wisdom of volumes into an apothegm; That Government is best which governs least.Though we come here solely as legislators, I trust our aim will be to see how little change, amendment or addition, the existing laws of the State can be made to answer the State's necessities. It is important not only to have good laws, but that they be universally known and firmly established. Therefore it is wise to acquiesce in that policy which the people have affirmed, even if we withhold the full assent of our judgment; and changes should be cautiously proposed or adopted even in those statutes which we deem susceptible of improvement.

This is the Fiftieth Legislature of Maine ;-when its labors are concluded its records will complete the legislative history of the first half century of our existence as a State. The session of the first Legislature lasted but twenty-nine days; the second was seventy-four days; the third, thirty-eight days, and the fourth, forty-two days. These assemblies had all the legislation of the New State to create-to harmonize it with a Constitution but recently adopted amid the colliding views and theories of projectors and visionaries who found favorable opportunity to broach their schemes in the forming of a new State. They had also to adapt it to the necessities and wishes of a people, differing in very many particulars in their pursuits and interests from those of the State from which we were severed. It is true our inhabitants were then not half their present number; but the same laws are necessary to protect the lives, persons and property of one thousand men as one hundred million. Since 1820, though railroads, telegraphs and numerous changes in the modes of transacting business have called for some new species of legislation, there are few or no recent changes of the kind that need long occupy our attention. The whole legislation of the State has been carefully revised and condensed into one compact volume, now passing through the press. Therefore it would seem that a very short time would suffice for the passage of such few additional laws of a general character as the necessities of the State require; and no general law that is not imperatively demanded by the highest con

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